It’s must-watch television every time two nearby rivals meet for College Football, and it’s not too often that a ranked team that starts the season 2-0 isn’t favored against an unranked team. That should tell you just enough about how hostile Milan Puskar Stadium could get when the West Virginia Mountaineers host the Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. The Virginia Tech Hokies will face their first road game of the season after starting off the year in a big way by knocking down the 10th-ranked UNC in Week 1, replicating their success despite some avoidable mistakes vs. Middle Tennessee.
The West Virginia Mountaineers, on the other hand, got off to a tough start of the year by losing at Maryland 30-24 in a game they could only score 3 points in all the second half. Then, they bounced back in a big way by shutting down the lesser Long Island University with an emphatic 66-0 victory. Now, they’ll step up in class for this renewed rivalry game.
Hokies want to remain perfectThe Virginia Tech Hokies are ranked for a reason. They boast a dominant defense and have only allowed 24 points throughout two weeks. They’ve been lights out when it comes to shutting down their rivals on third down, allowing their rivals a first down in just 37.5% of their chances. Also, they allow just 379 total yards per game, which is the 145th best mark in the nation.
Their offense has been far from spectacular and quarterback Braxton Burmeister won’t be a Heisman contender any time soon, averaging roughly 164 yards per outing. Then again, this team hasn’t needed an explosive offense to make the most of every single chance they have to score. Also, it’s worth noting that their running game has been pedestrian thus far, scoring just 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Mountaineers look to make a statementThe West Virginia Mountaineers enter this game as favorites by a field goal, which could be a bit of a flunky line for some. They have outscored their rivals 90-30 thus far, but 66 of those points came from their 66-0 victory over FCS’ Long Island University, so you have to take those numbers with a grain of salt. Also, their defensive numbers aren’t exactly convincing despite shutting down one of their rivals thus far.
The Mountaineers allow 311 total yards per game, letting their rivals convert on 30.3% of third-down opportunities. When it comes to their offense, Jarrett Doege has completed 38 of his 63 passes for 536 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 2 picks, and has been completely one-dimensional with little to account for on the rushing game. Running back Leddie Brown, on the other hand, has been pretty efficient in the red zone, scoring 4 touchdowns through a couple of weeks.
- Mountaineers are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.
- Mountaineers are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a home favorite.
- Hokies are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as an underdog.
- Hokies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.